Will Facebook Pay for Its News?
The specialized news section that Facebook is planning to role out on the toolbar at the bottom of Facebook’s mobile app in the end of October will include links to 200 publications. Facebook had never planned to pay all the news outlets whose content it would link to this section. Taking into account companies that own multiple publications, Facebook will pay fees to about one-quarter of the organizations that will be involved at launch.
Facebook is still negotiating with several big publishers (include Wall Street Journal parent Dow Jones & Co., the Washington Post, the New York Times, Business Insider, BuzzFeed, HuffPost and the Philadelphia Inquirer), Facebook wants news organizations to allow access to all their stories for possible inclusion in the news tab, but some outlets have pushed for only allowing limited access.
Facebook is offering three years licensing deals for as much as $3 million a year for national news outlets to several hundred thousand dollars for regional publications.
Facebook's move to pay for news comes as the big tech platforms have come under legal and regulatory scrutiny. Google has resisted paying publishers but recently announced changes to how it ranks stories on its news page to better promote original content.
Rupert Murdoch and BuzzFeed Chief Executive Jonah Peretti have both called on Facebook and Google to pay organizations that provide quality news.
“We’ve been working closely with news organizations to get this right by emphasizing original reporting and making it much easier to find the most relevant news on Facebook,” said Campbell Brown, Facebook’s vice president of global news partnerships.
Headlines appearing in Facebook’s news section will be chosen in some cases by a team of editors and in others by the company’s algorithm, people familiar with the matter said. The “Top News” section, which will feature about 10 headlines, will be entirely curated by human editors. News in subsections, such as sports or entertainment, and a “suggested for you” section, will be selected by algorithm. The feed won’t include any advertising and all stories will direct readers to the publishers’ own websites.